Category Archives: fitness

Know Thy Self

I don’t know why I can’t figure myself out.

I mean, I’ve been myself for almost 25 years. You would think that in that time, I would have learned something about myself.

This is all to say my paleo challenge is going, well, it’s not going.

I am not one for programs. I am not one to say “I can always have this” or “I can never have this.”

This whole thing was probably a bad idea and instead of feeling guilty about not following through on it, I am going to say, “I tried it. Not for me.”

So technically this is another thing I am quitting, but in 8 days I have not had one single completely paleo day. It does not feel very realistic for me. So, I am going to take what I am calling the “Katie Day Approach”: Eat smart. Eat when you’re hungry. Eat what you know is good for you. Sometimes that is something that comes from a box that you put in the microwave. Sometimes it is fruit. Sometimes it is protein. Sometimes it is a damn carb.

I also lasted two days tracking my food.

Dedicated, huh?

I am working on getting some more realistic expectations in place for what I am capable of. I have also really slouched off posting my progress every Monday which I think was doing a really good job of keeping me accountable. I am going to get back to that.

This has been a post.

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Paleo (Lite)

april

So April was a bust. No point in posting progress today because there was none. I actually gained back 2 pounds so it’s like April never even happened. Ya know what? I am okay with that. Let’s just say April never happened. I am not going to let it discourage me and I am not going to let it keep me from moving forward on this journey. Our Paleo challenge starts TODAY and I am not messing around.

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So here’s how I’m messing around. (Ha). I like the basic structure of paleo, but like anything I need to make it a perfect fit for me. So here are a few things that I am planning to modify:

1.) Legumes are allowed. I love black beans and pinto beans. I think they are a great source of protein and a good meal filler. Peanuts are also technically legumes, but they are such a cheap snack (when unsalted) that I want to keep my options open.
2.) Some dairy. The need for dairy decreases quite a bit when you stop eating processed foods or baking, but I still want the option to have a glass of milk. I am also not going to cut out cheese entirely, but I do want to limit it.
3.) No expensive substitutions. No almond flour here. No coconut aminos. I am on a budget here people. I am going to do lots of shopping at our local farmer’s market, but grass-fed, organic whatsits is not always an option for me. When possible, I will be using the cheap stuff if called for.

So there you have it! I do plan to be quite strict on a few other things. One, just for this month- no alcohol unless it is a special occasion (which this month include a wedding and my husband’s birthday.) When I do drink it, I will do so lightly. Also, no bread, no buns, no pasta, no white potatoes. Lastly, back to the meal plan. My lesson in April was loud and clear-

Fail to plan, plan to fail. 

So we are getting back on track. I have a little over a month left until my 10K race. The weather is nice enough to start biking to work regularly. Kickboxing is now twice a week.

I see good things for May!

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Schlump

Whoa guys. Sorry for the out and out cold shoulder. I did NOT mean to let the blog go neglected for so long! This week I helped host 5 Brazilians on the Rotary Group Studies Exchange Team. It was amazing to get to know them and to hang out all week (a post for that later) but it kind of wiped me out!

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Andre, Andrea, Nilo, Junior, and Pablo {My Brazilian Soul-mates}

But, now the Brazilians are on to their next stop and I am left to deal with the issue at hand: I have hit a major plateau. You know that 5 pounds that I miraculously lost a couple weeks ago? Well, that was a case of “too good to be true.” I must have stepped on the scale funny or something, because I am back up to the previous week’s weight. Which, let me remind you, was the same as the week before. That means, folks, that I have lost a total of ZERO total pounds in April.

Now, 22 pounds lost is nothing sniff at. It is certainly more weight than I have ever lost in any one attempt before. And, to make myself feel better, I’m going to stop by my trainer’s this afternoon and get some measurements done, so I can compare from when I started this whole process, back in November when I first started working out. My clothes fit a bit better and I feel good, so I know there has been progress. Amazing progress.

But I do not want to be done at 22. The weight I am at right now is not a healthy weight for my body and that is my ultimate goal. Health. So here is where I need your help! How do I get through this slump? My friend David gave me some really great advice about pushing through my running goals (no surprise: it is a mental game). But how can I hammer out some more weight loss? I need a victory here and a push to keep me going.

Next month, Brett and I are going paleo. We are going to give it the ole college try, and I have a post in mind for that as well. We are obviously going to modify it some to fit our needs! But more tips are definitely welcome! Should I journal for a week? A month? Should I incorporate smoothies? Should I work out in the morning? Night? Twice a day? <– Ha ha. I won’t be doing that but you get the idea.

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Progress (7)

2 pounds

Pounds Lost This Week: 2
Total Lost: 22
Pounds Left to Goal: 28

So before I continue, an explanation is in order. I did not post a progress update last week. There were two reasons for that. They are:

1) I was in Minneapolis/St. Paul on Monday morning and did not have access to my bathroom scale.
2) I had eaten vacation-style all weekend and I knew I had gained weight and I rather than beat myself up, I figured I deserved a week to reset.

I hope no one feels like I was being dishonest or refusing to face the reality of my eating choices. But part of this process is learning how to accept myself and learning how to get back on track after a few missteps. My reset week was not exactly The Master Cleanse. The 2 pounds I lost since my last post took two weeks. The last bit of March was not my most disciplined time. I cheated on my food rules and I only worked out once or twice a week. I managed to make a little bit more progress, but I am using the last two weeks as an anecdote to remember what happens when too many things are competing for my focus.

Onward and upward toward April! Spring is coming and I have new food resolutions to share. Lent is over and it was a blessing to me again this year (a post on this to come). I also have a few more new goals for April (another post).  I am really looking forward to the new month and keeping up with my lifestyle changes! As always, thanks so much for following along.

Progress (6)

four pounds

Pounds Lost This Week: 4
Total Lost: TWENTY POUNDS LOST!
Pounds Left to Goal: 30

As of this morning, I have officially lost 20 pounds. I don’t know about y’all, but I am PROUD of myself! Twenty pounds is a lot. It is six weeks of hard work. It is a good diet. It is frequent exercise. It is an amazing support system.

It also is not going hungry. It is not doing anything “exciting” or “trendy” or “amazing.” It is not working out for hours a time, every day of the week. It is not eliminating solid foods.

It is just doing what feels good for my body. It is what has always made sense all along. It is having the beer at dinner but not the french fries. It is the snack of frozen yogurt after the 2 mile run. It is biking back to work after lunch and dragging a friend to kick-boxing. It is enjoying the sunshine.

It feels good to have made progress. I am really happy about the changes that I have made and I have no intention of slowing down now. 20 pounds down, 30 to go.

When To Lose Weight

If there was a perfect time to lose weight (there isn’t) then I have found it (I haven’t.)

I have been getting some excellent compliments and encouragement lately. Most have them have sounded something like, “Amanda, you are quite literally the best person in the world. How can I be like you?”

Okay, not. But a lot of people have noticed my attitude, my progress, my honesty. Thank you. Please don’t stop (even when I’m being an ass. See: above.)

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On Running

I have started running. Again. For the third year in a row.

In both 2011 and 2012, I have trained for a 5K, had ambitions of cultivating a running habit, run said 5K (in March and June of those years, respectively), and promptly quit running for the rest of the year.

As such, I am on several mailing/email lists for races and many registration forms come across my fingertips every month yet, I have a 2 race career in as many years. This year, an email to register for The Hospital Hill Run (my June race last year) arrived in my inbox. It was promoting the finishing gift they are giving this year. It was this awesome track jacket.

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I honestly couldn’t resist. I am a sucker for shwag. But as I was considering my registration, a thought flickered. “What about the 10K?” I accidentally said it out loud which was a bit of a mistake as I seemingly spoke it into reality.

I have done two 5Ks. They were not particularly easy for me, but they were finished and as such, I know I can do it. That is apparently a fact that bores me. I know I can finish a 10K but I have not ever finished a 10K and the idea of doing so is apparently so fascinating that I have got to try it. (I say “apparently” because I’m not sure I know this part of my person who is intrigued by athletic challenges. She is a new person I am just now getting introduced to, so I am being careful not to say too much on her behalf.)

I have made the joke that every time I run, it is a miracle of modern science. It feels true. I am tall. I am heavy. I am top-heavy. (Ahem.) Runners are slim and lithe and quick. Runners are antelopes. I would liken myself more to a moose. Tall. Clumsy. Large. (I’m not really trying to be self effacing, but you get the picture.) It just seemed to me that certain people are built to run and others are not. I believed myself to be firmly camped in the latter category.

And then I read Born to Run(I do not think I have properly thanked Rachel for sharing this book with me. It has done much for me. Not as much as the actual Rachel, but a lot.) You should read this book so I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say that it made me question the notion that anyone would not be built to run. It made me think, “I ought to be running.” 

So I am taking some advice in the book and trying to bring it to life. I just bought a new pair of minimalist running shoes. (I still fell into the Nike trap, mostly because I had a gift card, but I opted for their newest line of Nike Frees.) I am trying to take short strides. I am trying to keep good posture. I am trying to implement a mid-foot strike.

I am also trying to run like Caballo Blanco. He advises the author of Born to Run, Christ McDougall to run “easy, light, smooth, and fast.” To focus first on easy and light. If he runs easy and light, he’ll be running smoothly. If he is running easy, light, and smooth, then fast will follow. During my last run, I chanted a mantra in my head: “Easy. Light. Easy. Light. Easy. Light.” I almost certainly failed to achieve it but it seems like a reasonable place to start.

I borrowed another piece of advice from a sport that stands in rather stark contrast to running, except when it doesn’t: yoga. My favorite yogi far and away is Tara Stiles and I recently downloaded a video of her Strong session. During a particularly grueling 2-minute plank pose (which I have yet to attempt with any seriousness), Tara advises to find the place within in the pose where you can relax. Focus on your forehead. Focus on the backs of your hands. Direct attention to the parts of the body that can relax. I have taken to doing this while running. Some runs I get very winded. Other times my feet and ankles and calves are sore. In those moments I think about my elbows. Or my neck. Or my ears.

By paying attention to what feels good, I worry less about what feels not-so-good. It is certainly not a plan for perfect running, but it is a plan for perseverance and improvement.

My hope is that by challenging myself to a longer distance, and through the necessary increase in time it will take to train, I will become a more regular runner. Through being more deliberate about technique and form, that I will still be running in September instead of quitting after the race in June. Of course the bigger lesson here is that life is inter-disciplinary. What is good in yoga is good in running is good life. Smart diet habits are smart life habits. I am starting to see a much bigger picture here.

Progress (5)

two pounds

Pounds Lost This Week: 2
Total Lost: 16
Pounds Left to Goal: 34

I felt like this photo was apt of my week because even though we got our Girl Scout Cookie order in, I still lost 2 pounds! Making reasonable choices is becoming more habitual for me. I have to think about it less and less. At dinner last night I had one small glass of wine and declined any more. It has been weeks since I have had second helpings of anything. I stocked up on a couple pints frozen Greek yogurt at the grocery store and have been surprised to find my sweet tooth satisfied after just a handful of bites.

I have started biking to and from work after my lunch break and have taken a couple longer (for me!) weekend rides which I think has help compensate for a not-so hyper vigilant workout schedule. I really like working out, but some days I just cannot get myself to make it happen so cycling has helped keep me active without much effort.

Brett has been really encouraging and is telling me that he can really see the difference. Which is a nice thing to say and I do not care if it is true at all or not. (He would interject here and say, “It IS true!”) We were talking about my recent lifestyle changes last week and I said something very confidently that I am not sure I have ever said before while trying to lose weight. I said, “will lose the 50 pounds. I have no doubt about that. But my goal is to have a healthier lifestyle.” I don’t know that I have been so assured of my success before and understood that achieving it will be a reality, not just a hope.

Yet here I sit, sure of my success. I know I will see the other side of 50 pounds (and ultimately my goal is more) and think, “Oh gosh, remember when I was doing all of that for the first time?” I know I will be the runner, hiker, cyclist, paddler, kick-boxer, climber, swimmer of my dreams. I am getting better and I am feeling better. Confidently.

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Sustainability (Part Two)

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I’ve written about sustainability before. You can read my first go round with it here. Simplicity and sustainability are ways of life that I hope to always cultivate. It has been fairly apparent that in my work life I should focus on a schedule and on commitments that are simple and sustainable. Naturally, I’m uncovering that same message as I “rehab” (if you will) my health.
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Progress (4)

one pound

Pounds Lost This Week: 1
Total Lost: 14
Pounds Left to Goal: 36

This was the week of being snowed in. This was the week of making a bad choice and then trying to overcompensate. This was the week of not really having a plan. This was the week of understanding that I need to change “UGH I’m trying to lose weight which means I have to be a hyper-vigilant hose beast,” into “I’m cultivating health, for my lifetime, and these are the choices I’ll be making in order to do so.” 

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